Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2022 report cards: Infielders

Oct 11, 2022, 8:40 PM
Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker (53) connects for a two-run home run as Atlanta Braves catch...

Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker (53) connects for a two-run home run as Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud, left, reaches for the ball during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Diamondbacks infield featured one of the best first basemen in the league in 2022.

However, the rest of the group struggled.

Overall, the Diamondbacks infield — sans catchers — slashed .232/.307/.381 with a 21st-ranked .688 OPS. They ranked 27th in hits, 19th in home runs and 17th in runs batted in.

What grade do they deserve for the 2022 season? Let’s take a look at each key contributor before determining the final grade.

Ketel Marte

The 28-year-old transitioned back to the infield after spending 2021 primarily in center field.

He also entered the season with a contract extension, signing for $76 million over five years beginning in 2023.

This season, the switch-hitting second baseman slashed .240/.321/407 with 12 home runs, 52 runs batted in and a 1.4 in FanGraphs’ WAR (fWAR). His .240 average is the worst of his career and the .321 OBP is his worst since 2016 with the Seattle Mariners.

Defensively, Marte struggled as well. His -6 defensive runs saved (DRS) tied for 22nd among 29 second basemen with a minimum of 500 defensive innings. He also had the ninth-most errors at the position despite being 18th in innings.

The second half did a number on Marte, as he posted just .195/.257/.345 after the All-Star Break. However, he did put up .271/.363/.449 in his first 82 games.

Geraldo Perdomo

The 22-year-old shortstop had some bright spots in his rookie season. However, he struggled overall and had to stick it out at the MLB level with fellow shortstop Nick Ahmed missing all but 17 games.

In 500 plate appearances, Perdomo slashed .195/.285/.262 with five homers, 40 RBIs and a 0.6 fWAR.

He also produced -3 DRS and 14 errors on defense.

Perdomo turns 23 in October, so he’s still incredibly young. And many prospects that struggle have the chance to go down to Triple-A and work out the kinks. However, the shortstop wasn’t afforded that opportunity.

He still was a .411 OBP hitter in the minors through 2019. There’s still plenty of time for him to figure it out offensively at the MLB level.

Josh Rojas

The 2022 season was a productive one for Rojas, despite missing 37 games.

In 510 plate appearances, he slashed .269/.349/.391 with nine home runs and 56 RBIs. He also improved on last year with 23 stolen bases, a 2.7 fWAR, .269 average and .349 OBP — all better than his 2021 totals.

His slugging percentage dropped to .391 from .411, as his power production dipped, particularly his doubles power. That being said, he finished with only two fewer homers in 40 less plate appearances.

Christian Walker

Walker was one of the best first basemen in the league this season after a disappointing 2021.

In 160 games, Walker hit a career-high 36 homers and drove in a career-best 94 runs. He also slashed .242/.327/.477 with a 4.1 fWAR, which was third among MLB first basemen.

After the All-Star Break, he was on another level. While his walk rate was only 6.4% (after 13.5% in the first half), he hit .285 with a .496 slugging percentage, both top-seven at the position post-break.

Walker was the total package at the position, providing a lot of thump in the heart of the order with by far the best defensive output. His league-leading 17 defensive runs saved and 14 outs above average both yielded double-digit leads on second place.

Emmanuel Rivera

When Rivera first arrived in Arizona, he was hitting the daylights out of the baseball. In his first 88 plate appearances, the 26-year-old slashed .293/.398/.587 with five homers, 12 doubles and 13 RBIs.

However, things ended cold for Rivera. In his final 60 trips to the plate, he slashed .140/.167/.211 with just two extra-base hits and a strikeout rate of 35%.

Overall, he posted a 1.0 fWAR with a .227/.304/.424 slash line in 39 games after getting traded from the Kansas City Royals for Luke Weaver. He also has team control through 2027, so the D-backs can’t lose from a return-on-investment perspective.

Final Grade: C-

All in all, the D-backs infield struggled to sustain consistent production outside of Walker.

While Rojas was productive, he still missed nearly 40 games. Still, their two best infielders in 2022 were 31 and 28 years old.

While neither Walker nor Rojas is old, their offensive ceilings could be reached or close to it.

Marte’s second-half struggles, Perdomo’s overall consistency issues and Rivera ending the season as poorly as he did couldn’t be overcome by the level of production from Walker. And this is without mentioning Sergio Alcantara or Pavin Smith, who both either struggled or got hurt.

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Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2022 report cards: Infielders